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Mick Shots: Game Balls Of A Different Kind


FRISCO, Texas – With Sunday's looming bye, how's 'bout a shot of a different kind.

Check this out: As the Cowboys finished their game the previous Sunday at MetLife Stadium, an unfortunate 24-22 loss to the Jets, here are the players who either did not play in the game or failed to finish.

OT Tyron Smith.

OT La'el Collins.

WR Amari Cooper.

WR Randall Cobb.

CB Byron Jones.

CB Anthony Brown.

DE Dorance Armstrong.

Then on Wednesday of the week leading up to Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the official injury report after practice listed DNP's (Did Not Participate) next to the names of:

Dorance Armstrong.

Anthony Brown.

Randall Cobb.

La'el Collins.

Amari Cooper.

Byron Jones.

Tyron Smith.

And by Friday, every one of those guys, with the exception of Brown, practiced on a limited basis and were listed as questionable for the Philly game, meaning a 50-50 chance to play. By Sunday, of those injured seven, five of those guys played, with the exception of Brown (hamstring) and Armstrong, who was more of a coach's decision.

Not only did those guys play, but they played well.

Now look, no one walked into that locker room and placed healing-hands on those guys to miraculously cure what was ailing them. There was a lot of treatment and rehab work going on behind the scenes.

Fist bumps to head trainer Jim Mauer and associate trainer/ director of rehab Britt Brown, along with the rest of their staff members and members of the strength and conditioning staffs, too.

Just listen to owner Jerry Jones.

"We've always had the two head trainers, and I mean that, the two head trainers, Jim Mauer and Britt Brown, and they've been here a long time, but that's no accident," Jones said during his weekly Tuesday morning radio segment on 105.3 The Fan of what they accomplished in a week's time. "They've endured the insults of Bill Parcells, and I laugh. He used to be really hard on that training room back there.

"And Britt has absolutely distinguished himself, and he has the focus and time on getting players that are rehabbing and getting them on the field."

Truth be known, Brown was rehabbing those guys in groups of two: Both offensive tackles together, then both wide receivers, then both cornerbacks, his goal to get five of those guys ready for the game, knowing Brown was a long shot and Smith a little behind the rest.

Well, he had five ready to go on Sunday: Smith, Collins, Cooper, Cobb and Jones.

Also after the game on Monday afternoon with The Fan gang, COO Stephen Jones was asked about the job Britt had done, getting those key guys ready in time to play in that Cowboys' 37-10 victory over the Eagles. He said of Britt, "He won the Heisman. I told him after the game he deserved a game ball.

"He obviously did a great job of getting those guys in a place where obviously they could go out and play, and play well. Monday we were very concerned if we could get any of them (back for the game). A testament to Britt, but also a testament to the pros we have on this team."

Certainly you'd agree, a shot well-worth taking.

  • Long Ball: Now you know why the Cowboys have remained patient with kicker Brett Maher, who had been creating some frustration with his misses this year from 33 and 40 yards. Yet in consecutive weeks, he cans field goals from 62 and 63 yards, becoming the first player in NFL history to make, count 'em, three 60-yard field goals in a career. Counting the previous club-record 62-yarder last year, that means Maher has made long field goals from 62, 62 and 63 yards in just a 23-game NFL career. And by going three-for-three on Sunday against the Eagles, and making all four of his extra points, for a total of 13 points, Maher has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week by the NFL. Oh, by the way, that's his third such honor, twice last year the NFC Special Teams POW.
  • Just In Case: So on that club-record 63-yard field goal against Philly, the Eagles had lined up safety Rudy Ford under the crossbar just in case Maher came up short, prepared to return the miss. And with Ford back, and Jason Witten the only skill player among the eight upfront blockers, the Cowboys had six of those linemen sprinting down field just in case they had to cover the return of a short kick. Smart move.
  • 1-Year Anniversary: Tuesday, Oct. 22, marked the one-year anniversary of the Amari Cooper trade, the Cowboys sending the Raiders that 2019 first-round pick the day after the 20-17 loss to the Redskins when Maher's game-tying attempt bounced off the upright. And truth be known, Stephen Jones was finalizing the deal on that Monday after the game while the team, having spent the night in the Washington D.C. area, was visiting the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. In fact lagging behind the group on the phone, quite close to where I was standing, unbeknownst to what was going on, doing my afternoon report to The Fan. Who knew.
  • Climbing Fast: With 111 yards rushing against the Eagles, Ezekiel Elliott now has four 100-yard games in seven this year, and currently heads into the bye with 602 yards, on pace for a 1,376-yard rushing season. He currently ranks fifth among NFL rushers, trying to win the third rushing title of his four-year career. He is just 16 yards shy of tying for the third spot, but 122 behind Minnesota's Delvin Cook (725).
  • Bye Shots: As the Cowboys kick their feet up on game days this week, they go into the NFL's Week 8 ranked No. 1 in total offensive yards and No. 5 in total defensive yards, with Minnesota, New England and San Francisco the only other teams ranked in the Top 10 in both categories … While the Cowboys are practicing two days this week, Wednesday and Thursday, it's young guys only, almost all the starters doing no more than watching, with the young guys and backups who rarely get many practice snaps doing the majority of the work … Just in case this might have gone unnoticed, Sean Lee, taking over the for injured Leighton Vander Esch, in his most extensive game-day work of the season (45 snaps), showed he's still got it, finishing with a team-tying-high seven tackles and a pass defensed, the majority of those naps at his old weakside linebacker spot … Gotta love DeMarcus Lawrence's bobble head he was carrying out of the locker room on Wednesday, his likeness mounted on top of a camo Army tank … And walking by him was La'el Collins, with the championship boxing belt given to the player of the game draped over his shoulder, and letting Tank know who had the belt.

See there, no bye when it comes to shots.